Labour Party Conference Panel Discussion - Working Together: a Future for All Young People

Date: Tuesday 27th September - 5.30 to 6.30

Room: Youth Zone (inside the exhibition hall)

Refreshments: Wine, juice and snacks



  • Stella Creasy (MP, Walthamstow)
  • Chuka Umunna (MP, Streatham)
  • Anna Smee (CEO, UK Youth)
  • Javed Khan (CEO, Barnardos)


Discussion summary:

What are the most significant challenges facing those who work with young people to engage and support all young people as they transition towards adulthood and independence?

There have been approximately £400 million pounds worth of cuts to local youth services in the past 6 years, while at the same time significant regional and central funding is being diverted towards age specific interventions and targeted approaches.

In response to this, many local youth services are desperately restructuring their business and delivery models, trying to establish ways of sustaining their services, such as creating social enterprise models, becoming independently registered charities, and forming Mutuals and Community Interest Companies,

These newly structured services are not just struggling with raising funds, but also with how to meet the ever growing need to diversify their staff skills.  No longer is it enough to deliver excellent youth facing services, these new organisations now need accountants, public relations managers, site managers, event planners and more.

While we struggle to meet all of the pressing challenges those in then youth sector face, are we in danger of leaving behind hundreds of thousands of young people, unable or unwilling to engage in diverse year-round services to meet their diverse year-round needs, from mental well-being to housing, from sexual health to drug awareness, from physical activity to volunteering.

UK Youth maintains that local and regional youth service providers need to be supported to ensure all young people (no matter their background or unique needs) have the chance to:

·         productively engage with positive peer groups and supportive adults in safe spaces

·         benefit from informal and non-formal learning opportunities they may not otherwise access

·         take part in social action to both develop and test their own learning and to positively contribute to their local community

·         access clear supported pathways into education, employment and community leadership roles

Is it right therefore that we should be trying to maintain year-round, holistic, community based services, or with limited resource and all the current challenges should we maintain our focus on a more targeted approach, working only with those who exhibit the most need?

This discussion will be lively, positive and solution focused, with contributions from the panel and from the floor.

To confirm your attendance please e-mail Simon Neyhouser ( 

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